St Albans man jailed after trying to arrange sexual abuse of children

John O'Shea.

John O'Shea. - Credit: Archant

A Shenley man has been jailed for four years after being caught in a police sting operation trying to arrange sex with children.

John O’Shea, of Pippin Close, was caught by police after travelling from Hertfordshire to Leicester, where he was expecting to rape and sexually abuse an 11-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother.

At the end of his 85-mile journey, police caught O’Shea in a Burger King restaurant at the Meridian retail park on November 16 last year and arrested him.

O’Shea had thought he was talking over the internet to the children’s mother, ‘Emma’, who was actually an undercover officer.

Satya Chotalia, prosecuting O’Shea in St Albans Crown Court yesterday (January 22), said: “He accepted speaking to Emma on Chatstep. He accepted he was seeking children to have sex with. Over seven to 10 days he had communicated with her by text, had given her his mobile number and sent her a picture of himself.

“Within the messages he said he wanted to have sexual activity with both children. He said he knew it was wrong and illegal.”

O’Shea set out what he wanted to happen in graphic and explicit texts.

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When the police examined his mobile phone they found indecent images of children, which included 10 category A images and one category A movie - the most serious level.

In addition there were 60 category B images and one video, and 11 category C images, the least serious level.

O’Shea admitted two offences of arranging to meet a child under 13 for the commission of a child sex offence. He also pleaded guilty to three charges of making (downloading) indecent images of children.

Andel Singh, defending O’Shea, said he had given full and frank admissions to the police and had never been in trouble before.

He said: “He knows he brought it upon himself and does not want to blame anyone else. He wants help while in the prison system. It is something he is keen to do and he is keen to understand it, so the behaviour is never repeated.”

Mr Singh also told the court that O’Shea had lost his job and his partner of 30 years, who wants little to do with him.

In addition to jailing him, Recorder Amanda Tipples QC said O’Shea must abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and register as a sex offender indefinitely.